Tags: Trump Administration | NSA | warned | white house | staff | private phone | email

Report: NSA Warned Key WH Staff on Private Phone, Email Use

Image: Report: NSA Warned Key WH Staff on Private Phone, Email Use
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By    |   Friday, 29 September 2017 10:57 PM

The National Security Agency warned top Trump administration officials in classified sessions shortly after the inauguration that not using their personal cellphones and email properly might expose them to surveillance by America's adversaries, according to news reports Friday.

"Jared is probably one of the top five or 10 targets in the U.S. government because of his access to the president and because of the portfolios he's been given," Richard Clarke, a former top cybersecurity adviser to three presidents, told Politico.

He was referring to Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser.

Kushner's responsibilities range from serving the president on such issues as China, Syria, Afghanistan and the Middle East, Politico reports, along with infrastructure and innovation.

"It's a pretty safe bet that his personal devices have been compromised by foreign intelligence services," Clarke said. "And, therefore, there is some risk that meetings he attends are compromised, too."

Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, created a private family email domain before the president took office, Politico reported, and he communicated with key White House officials thorough the account earlier this year.

Kushner's attorney told Politico, however, that the messages numbered fewer than 100 between January and August.

In addition, Politico reported that Ivanka Trump and four other Trump aides used their personal email for official business, including economic adviser Gary Cohn.

According to Friday's report, the NSA briefed the new administration officials shortly after the Jan. 20 inauguration and took place in the White House Situation Room because of the sensitive subject matter.

"The NSA briefers explained that cyberspies could be using sophisticated malware to turn the personal cellphones of White House aides into clandestine listening devices, to take photos and video without the user's knowledge and to transfer vast amounts of data via Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth," Politico reports.

The site based its report on "one former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the briefings," and "and three other former officials familiar with such briefings."

The sessions are held for each incoming administration, according to Politico.

White House press representatives declined to comment on which officials were briefed, but the former intelligence official told Politico that former chief of staff Reince Priebus and Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert were present.

"Kushner and others of his rank were expected to attend, especially given the high potential for cyberespionage as one administration replaces another," Politico reports.

In addition, a White House official told the site that administration staffers were "expected to follow security protocols, including leaving their cellphones in security lockers outside offices where classified information is discussed."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Monday that aides were frequently warned about using private email accounts.

"To my knowledge, it's very limited," she said.

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The National Security Agency warned top Trump administration officials in classified sessions shortly after the inauguration that not using their personal cellphones and email properly might expose them to surveillance by America's adversaries, according to news reports...
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2017-57-29
Friday, 29 September 2017 10:57 PM
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